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Published: Tuesday, 7/16/2013

Kasich gets tornado update

Governor visits Seneca Co. emergency team

BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU

TIFFIN — Gov. John Kasich quietly met with officials at the Seneca County Emergency Operations Center on Tuesday to get an update on the county’s clean-up efforts after last week’s confirmed touchdowns of two weak tornadoes.

The Republican governor was in the region for political events and stopped by the EOC at the county fairgrounds for a 45-minute meeting, according to spokesman Connie Wehr-kamp.

“He wanted to get a read-out on where they are on storm cleanup,” she said. “He wanted to make sure first-hand that the state is being responsive.”

The National Weather Service confirmed that a weak tornado touched down in Bellevue, which straddles Sandusky, Seneca, Erie, and Huron counties. The storm primarily damaged roofs and treetops. A slightly stronger twister cut a 10-mile path through northeastern Seneca and northwestern Huron counties, uprooting trees and damaging barns and houses.

Ms. Wehrkamp noted that state Emergency Management Agency Director Nancy J. Dragani has been in contact with the county since last week’s thunderstorms.

“One of the biggest issues we’ve heard from them is debris cleanup,” Ms. Wehrkamp said. “Ohio EMA is still working with the locals on damage assessment. That’s a process that always has to be completed, so that we know what the cost estimates are. … If certain thresholds are met, there can be assistance from the state to help cover the costs for government-related impacts, such as a bridge that was damaged or a road obstructed by debris.”

The governor met with state Rep. Rex Damschroder (R., Fremont), Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz, Fostoria Mayor Eric Keckler, Seneca County commissioners Holly Stacy and Fred Zoeller, Seneca EMA Director Dan Stahl, and Attica-Venice-Reed Fire Chief Brett Meyers.

There have been no requests to date for help from the federal government, the National Guard, or the Ohio Department of Transportation, Ms. Wehrkamp said.



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